MARCH - MAY 2000
Organized by World Music Institute, NY 212-545-7536

The Artists

Kayhan Kalhor - Kamancheh
Shujaat Husain Khan - Sitar, vocals
Swapan Chaudhuri - Tabla
-- or -- Sandeep Das - Tabla

"Superb" -- The New York Times

"Rapturous" -- The Washington Post

"Soulful and haunting. Reminds me of the deepest roots of jazz and blues Universal." -- John Scofield

Ghazal creates music that can be deeply meditative or dazzlingly virtuosi - a musical bridge between Iran and India, two of the world's most expressive and distinctive traditions (HEAR SAMPLE MUSIC). The connections between the classical music of India and Iran stretch back thousands of years to the old Silk trade route, where ideas of modal scales, rhythmic cycles and traditional melodic contours were exchanged. Three virtuoso musicians from Iran and India create spellbinding improvisations that link their two classical styles. Ghazal Ensemble, a name that refers to poetry in Persian and a sung poetry form in North India, features Kayhan Kalhor, an Iranian master of the Kamancheh (spiked fiddle); Indian Ustad Sitar player, Shujaat Husain Khan, one of the great North Indian classical musicians of his generation; and Swapan Chaudhuri, the great master of Indian tabla (percussion) or Sandeep Das, one of the bright young stars of Indian percussion.

For the past five centuries, Persian music and North Indian music have grown along separate but parallel paths, resulting in similarities of scales, tunings, rhythms and improvisational forms between the two great traditions. Despite the large differences between the Persian classical music system (dastgah) and the Indian system (raga), there are several scales in both where the intervals overlap. Ghazal creates a musical bridge between these two ancient styles, one based less on academic research and more on the spirit of making music in the moment, and from the heart. Their gorgeous, remarkably intuitive, and increasingly elaborate improvisations highlight the music's common ground. The artists exploit their similarities to find a breathtaking new voice and convey a rich spirituality that requires no literal translation. Ghazal's cross-cultural music was first unveiled in 1997 with Lost Songs of the Silk Road on Shanachie. This debut recording was hailed by Billboard as "world music at its best" and by The Village Voice as "arguably the year's beast world music album." Tours and follow-up recordings resulted in As Night Falls on the Silk Road in 1998. The group's third recording, Moon Rise Over the Silk Road, was released by Shanachie in February 2000.


Kayhan Kalhor is one the most important Iranian musicians of his generation. He is an internationally respected virtuoso of the kamancheh and setar as well as a composer. He bows the kamancheh, or Iranian spiked fiddle, while holding it vertically between his knees. The instrument has a round, almost flutelike tonality, capable of expressing a haunting range of nuances of phrasing, accent and timbre. Kayhan Kalhor began his study of Persian classical music at the age of seven under master Ahmad Mohajer and has since performed around the world, both with Iran's most prestigious artists and as a soloist. Kalhor's search to develop his own improvisational language based on traditional Persian music makes him one of Iran's most exciting musicians.

Shujaat Husain Khan, son and disciple of the master sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan, is one of the great artists of North Indian classical music today. A sitar virtuoso, Shujaat Husain Khan is an expressive player, favoring plucked notes embellished by generous use of vibrato. Khan is also the group's vocalist, and blends his gentle baritone with the melodic lines of the instruments. He started playing sitar at the age of three and began making public performances at the age of six. He belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana (school) of the sitar and is the seventh in an unbroken family line that has produced many musical masters. He has also performed around the world.

Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, the brilliant virtuoso tabla player, is one of India's most popular and widely recorded classical artists. Swapan started learning tabla at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive training he received from his Guru, Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. In 1981, Maestro Ali Akbar Khan brought him to the United States to teach tabla at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. He is the Director of Percussion at the College in San Rafael and in Basel, Switzerland. He is also a member of the teaching staff at the California Institue of the Arts in Valencia, California. In addition, Swapan maintains a rigorous touring and recording schedule around the world with India's greatest masters.

Sandeep Das, born in 1970, is one of the most promising young tabla players of his generation. He began playing tabla at the age of 8 and is a disciple of Pandit Kishan Maharaj, the doyen of the Benares Gharana. Sandeep is known for his clarity of "bols", or depth and balancing of sound, difficult layaksaris and mathematical calculations as he is performing. He has accompanied many of the top artists throughout India and abroad and performs regularly on TV and radio in India.

Concert Dates
Contact email:

* San Francisco
* Philadelphia
* Seattle
* Chicago
* Minneapolis
* Cleaveland
* New York
* Portland
* Boston

Sunday March 26, 5:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701, Mission Street at 3rd So/Tickets: (415) 978-2787
Tickets/Info: (415) 978-2787

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Saturday April 15, 7:30pm
Kane Hall
International House
Tickets/Info: (215) 387-5125

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Sunday April 23, 7:30pm
Kane Hall
University of Washington
Info/Tickets: (206) 525-7728 / (206) 285-5922

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Saturday April 29, 7:30pm
Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
Info/Tickets: (773) 728-6000

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Sunday April 30, 7:30pm
Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Avenue South
Info/Tickets: (612) 338-2674

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Friday May 5, 7:30pm
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Info: (216) 421-7340
Tickets: (888) 262-0033

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Saturday, May 6, 8pm
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street.
Tickets/Info: (212) 545-7536

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Friday May 12, 8pm
New Mark Theater
1111, South West Broadway
Info: (503) 274-6566
Tickets: (503) 224-8499 (Fastixx)

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Saturday May 13, 8pm
Somerville Theater
55 Davis Square
Sommerville / Boston, MA
Info: (617) 625-4088

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